Forty-nine safai karamcharis have succumbed to COVID-19 in three Municipal Corporation of Delhi divisions – North, South and East – out of a total of 94 employee deaths due to the disease in the three divisions.
A report in The Indian Express said that 16 out of 29 deaths in South MCD, 25 out of 49 in the North MCD and eight of 16 deaths in the East MDC were of safai karamcharis who have continued to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report mentioned that about 50,000 safai karamcharis are permanent or temporary employees of the three divisions and have been engaged in collecting garbage and sanitisation since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year.
It added that of the remaining 45 deaths 13 were of healthcare workers which included five doctors. Two doctors were from the South MCD division, one from Swami Dayanand Hospital in East MCD while another was a professor of medicine and senior chief medical officer at Hindu Rao Hospital. Seven education department officials died from COVID-19, some of whom were also engaged in ration distribution. The report added that four teachers, two principals and a school attendant had also passed due to COVID-19.
East Delhi mayor Nirmal Jain told the newspaper that each staffer from the division who died due to COVID-19 would be given a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and that a policy was being worked on so that their families could be given jobs.
Rajendra Mewati, Delhi Nagar Nigam Safai Mazdoor Sangh’s incharge, reportedly said that while masks were handed out to supervisors they rarely found their way to karamcharis. "There should be proper arrangements for these things. Also, every sanitation worker should be given Rs 1 crore compensation in a week and permanent jobs for their dependents. What happens mostly is that one or two are given benefits, Photo sessions are held with their family members, while files of other people are kept in process, leading to inordinate delay," he told the newspaper.
The East Delhi mayor said that seven people in East MCD had already been compensated and that they were waiting on the paperwork to come through in the remaining cases. He told the newspaper that they were following up with the Delhi government to ensure that it paid the Rs one crore promised by it to those who died on COVID duty.
North MCD mayor Jai Prakash said that he would ensure that a dependent from each family would get a job and that a relief fund of Rs five to ten lakhs was being arranged. "We are also sending a file to the Delhi government demanding Rs 1 crore for those who have died on COVID duty," he reportedly said.